Lady Trojans volleyball looks to capitalize on move to 4A


Grayson Joslin, Editor

The New Castle Lady Trojans have been one of the best teams in Indiana high school volleyball in the past two years. The Lady Trojans have captured back to back 3A state championships in 2017 and 2018. In accordance with the IHSAA success policy, the Lady Trojans now move from 3A to 4A, the highest class for volleyball in the IHSAA. Perennial powerhouses, like Yorktown, Center Grove, and Providence reside here, and schools with large enrollments including Carmel, Pike and Ben Davis call 4A their home too.

The Lady Trojans have been ranked highly in many preseason polls, but the players aren’t letting that disrupt their focus. “Moving up into 4A has changed my mindset for the better,” Senior Melani Shaffmaster said. “The change has created more of a competitive nature not only in my mindset but at practice too. Allowing the whole team to buy in and actually realize what we are capable of completing in 4A.”

“Moving up to 4A this season will definitely be a new challenge for our team,” Senior Zoe Conway said. “The goal is still the same to end the season in Worthen Arena.”

The season has started off on the right foot for the Lady Trojans, with consecutive wins over No.3 Center Grove in 5 sets and No. 6 Hamilton Southeastern in 3 straight sets. Their schedules continues with more strong teams, including last year’s 4A state champions and conference rival Yorktown, 4A No.10 and fellow conference rival Mount Vernon, and 3A No.1 Muncie Burris.

“So far, I think our team is doing great. We have beat 2 top ten opponents that are always good. Our team is beginning to click, which is always nice to see in the beginning of the year,” Conway said.

The talent on this year’s team is indescribable: four players on the team will play Division I volleyball: Seniors Melani Shaffmaster (committed to play at Minnesota), Zoe Conway (committed to Ball State), Jniors Mabrey Shaffmaster (committed to North Carolina) and Bailey Cox (committed to Georgia).

With this large collective of talent, the goal for New Castle Volleyball is clear.

“Our collective goal is to win state agai,.” Junior Mabrey Shaffmaster said.

The last team to win three straight IHSAA volleyball titles was Providence in 2013-2015.

“We have a lot of size and talent on our team and coaches that push us to do what we thought we couldn’t,” Mabrey Shaffmaster said.

Melani Shaffmaster said that the team’s greatest attribute “is our ability to compete at the level we all know we can compete at, and the ability of us, as teammates, being able to have great communication on and off the court because of how we know each other as players and people.”

The season is still new, but at the end of it, the Lady Trojans hope to bring home their 3rd consecutive state championship.

Students, your Trojan volleyball team and NCHS Student Government is making the September 17th home game against Yorktown a “Rally for Riley” game. Our goal is to have every person attending the game wear red. Riley buckets will be displayed and spectators will be encouraged to donate money to Riley Children’s Hospital. The money donated from this game will count towards our school goal of $15,000 this school year. Come out and support your Trojans and Riley.